IN LIEU OF TWITTER…
Now that I no longer have a Twitter account (though I remain on Instagram @drnoir33), I post occasional short thoughts here instead.
January 27, 2023: This video about my Interrogating Memory book is now the second one I ever posted to YouTube.
January 24, 2023: As a longtime Philadelphia Phillies fan, I am thrilled to learn that All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen – named National League Rookie of the Year with the Phils in 1997 – has been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame! His arrival in 1997 sparked a sense the Phillies were turning a corner, though it still took another 10 years to return to the playoffs. By that point, Rolen had already played in two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning in 2006 (and losing to my local Boston Red Sox in 2004). Nonetheless, I never stopped rooting for the 10-time Gold Glove winner, and I am happy Rolen will be inducted alongside another spectacular player and person, Fred McGriff.
January 21, 2023: My first-ever YouTube video is now banned in Russia because of copyright infringement on two of the background tracks I use. Feels a bit like a pretext for banning something American, but I am not an expert on international copyight law.
January 20, 2023: Ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages, I thank you for your patience. Now, without further ado, I present my 100 favorite (probably) films:
[Update]: I just posted this to YouTube – my first-ever video there.
January 19, 2023. Having now ranked my 100 favorite films (probably), I finally updated my 50 favorite films noir (probably). I am also putting the final touches on the video presentation of the former list. Stay tuned…
January 17, 2023. It was 63 years ago today that David Louis “Lou” Berger married Elaine Kohn at the Greenbrier Country Club on Conshohocken State Road, barely a stone’s thrown from the dividing line between West Philadelphia and the upscale “Main Line” suburbs, City Avenue. This joyous occasion ends Chapter 3 of my Interrogating Memory book.
What could possibly go wrong?
January 15, 2023. As I create a PowerPoint presentation of my 100 favorite films, which I will then turn into a YouTube video (take that, cinelitists!), I am extremely encouraged by how much I want to rewatch each of these films. This is face validity – and maybe even construct validity – at its finest. Stay tuned…
INTERROGATING MEMORY UPDATES!
Revisions galore. I am currently deep in the research weeds learning new information for the revised and updated – and less expensive – paperback edition of my book Interrogating Memory: Film Noir Spurs a Deep Dive Into My Family History…and My Own. As a result, however, my plan to record myself reading the book as 11 or 12 “podcasts” is on hold.
Calling an audible. Here is the audio “teaser trailer” I recorded in August 2022:
Award-nominated. Interrogating Memory is under serious consideration for the 2022 Athenaeum of Philadelphia Literary Award! The short list will be released around February 1, 2023, with the winner announced around April 1, 2023 In the meantime, the Athenaeum just designated it as a “next great read” (along with 37 other books) in an Instagram post. I remain deeply humbled by their interest in my book, which, among other things, is a heartfelt love letter to Philadelphia.
Local events. On September 15, I participated in Hummingbird Books’ first Local Author Fair. The event was a success, in large part because of the deep literary talent pool in the Boston area.
WHAT IS THIS WEBSITE?
The purposes of this website are…
My story-telling style—call it “annotated meandering”—inspired this site’s name.
I do always get to the point, though…eventually.
Just bear with me.
WHO AM I?
Click here to learn about Matt (aka Dr. Noir).
WHAT KIND OF STORIES DO I TELL HERE?
Broadly speaking, I write essays – tell stories – about topics in three areas:
- My own life (see below)
- American politics – including calls for bipartisanship and mutual respect
- Popular culture – primarily film/television and music
I write about other topics as well, including our lives during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, baseball, epidemiology and public health, true crime and anything else about which I can tell a good story.
I ALSO WRITE BOOKS!
Far more often than I had expected, I tell stories from my own life, using what I call “contextualized introspection.” My first (self-)published book, Interrogating Memory: Film Noir Spurs a Deep Dive Into My Family History…and My Own, is precisely in this vein. And while supplies last, you may purchase a signed copy through this website for only $25, a savings of more than $10 off the Amazon list price. You may also purchase it as an ebook.
Interrogating Memory began as an attempt to turn an essay about why I love film noir into a full-length book. At the same time, I was undergoing genetic testing, exploring my own personal “origin story” and using tools like Ancestry and Newspapers to help me contextualize my “journey” within a larger American immigrant story. I coined the term “interrogating memory” to describe this process – and one of the first things I learned was that the death of my paternal great-grandfather David Louis Berger made the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer more than 100 years ago.
I recently received my first – wholly unsolicited – review, and I could not be more grateful and humbled. David Mayhew wrote: “Greatly have I enjoyed your new book, which kept me glued! It all flows well. Film noir is a real fetching theme! What an expert and connoisseur you are!” Other writers such as Larry Harnisch (“It’s a good one!”) and Morgan Richter (“I am enjoying it immensely.”) have also praised it.
I have now begun to write my second book, tentatively titled Meet Me at the Counter: A Life in Diners. Indeed, the photograph at the top of the page shows the sorely-missed ValeRio diner, which once sat on Route 23 in Phoenixville, PA, at the intersection with Route 113 North. It features prominently in a number of posts – such as those having to do with constructive dialogue and healthy skepticism.
At least…that was what I began to write until I inadvertently stumbled upon the January 1909 statutory rape trial of Adelaide “Addie” Burns – who just happened to be the first wife of my wife Nell’s paternal grandfather. I now plan to write a book about this trial, grounding it in both the aftermath of the Civil War (tens of thousands of dead fathers, husbands, sons and brothers) and the distinctive social mores – including nativism, misogyny, and Congregationalist (read: Calvinist) attitudes toward poverty and crime – of Connecticut at the time.
WHAT ELSE WILL YOU FIND HERE?
WHAT DO I ASK FROM READERS?
Just continue to bear with me, while inviting others to do the same. I am grateful to everyone who clicks “Like” and comments in a respectful way: it truly is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.
I invite you to follow me on Instagram @drnoir33.
Please also check out my Interrogating Memory book. I think you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Then keep an eye out for new essays and my upcoming The Burns Woman and Life in Diners books.
And if you enjoy what you read here, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation.
HOW CAN YOU CONTACT ME?
I want to hear from you!
Please click here to offer your thoughts, ask me questions – or just say Hello!